For a moment I watched the blue sky
on my short walk to the Anderson Library,
a favorite place to be in peace and quiet.
"Information should be free" Anderson had said,
a generous woman who would have been
the first to say that all are equally welcome
and each entitled to any empty chair.
The clean, clear light through giant windows.
Walls of books that give for years the greatest
of all wealth – power to the poor who seek
knowledge of the paths that take one forward,
Better facts, better life.
Finding a scientific and a newsy spewsy mag,
I took a seat at a round table for reference,
in reference to the world, in reference to me,
in reference to what new taste of a learned thing
might brighten the empty day of a lonely man.
Across the long room, near a shaded corner,
there she was, in a bright red vest, gray slacks
and a navy jacket that brought my eyes to her
whitening blonde hair, the serious face but
with a mild curve of smile for everyone.
Her head oddly tilted, the newspaper sagging
a bit to one side – was that the bad news?
She would be in it soon, so dignified.
A little clatter and non-whispering in
the safest place where it is right to be quiet.
A man and a woman in the welcome bright yellow
of those who joined the sect of first responders.
Clara Madison Anderson lifted gently onto her chariot.
My mind sent a signal to applaud, but
it didn't reach my hands.
Somebody said "Careful."
My eyes teared up.
Time passed, the bright windows dusky blue.
A gentle teenager approached me and said,
"We're closing now."
John L. Manimas, June, 2022
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